Customer Experience: The Next Big Competitive Advantage

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Let’s discuss customer experience (CX). According to this post last week, CX is also in danger due to…hype. So I’m reporting to duty to combat this! Plus, yesterday’s community manager hangout about magical customer experiences was encouraging.

customer experience

photo credit: mordefroid via photopin cc

This is not a fancy term for customer service or a fad. It’s a “sleeper” (not widely recognized – like the NIU Huskies football team in the early season). It influences business growth and results through increased conversions, lead generation, brand advocates and more. As Jeannie Walters pointed out yesterday during the hangout, customer service is reactive and customer experience is proactive. You make the first move.

I’m talking about every flipping interaction your potential leads, customers or buddies checking out your website (or store) experiences along the customer journey relevant to you and your business. When you’re there or not. You want to master satisfaction plus some before, during and after the product/service lifecycle. It’s a heavy topic but to give you an idea, here are some touchpoints to consider:

  • Amount of time it takes you to respond to feedback and questions from customers. Ensure a two way street for communication, especially in real time social media. Are you enthusiastic about their happiness factor and eliminating any painful experiences?
  • How easy is it to discover or use the contact form, checkout, download your content offerings or subscribe? If it’s a long and clicky process, fix it.
  • Do you say thank you to your customers and brand advocates? Surprise them once in a while? Keep the romance alive!
  • Sometimes there are breakups. No need to piss them off by ignoring their request to cancel. But you could be kind and clever (i.e. I once saw a webpage asking me to select my reason why I wanted to leave underneath the line “An angel just lost it’s wings today.” Awww.
  • Satisfy the customer’s needs beyond the product. (Dig Hubspot and all their free ebooks beyond their inbound marketing software).
  • Design of your 404 Error Message – Notice how some make you laugh? Or scold you. Like, shame on you for not figuring it out.

It may strike you I’m talking a bit about user experience instead of customer experience ..and that’s not completely wrong. But usability has to mirror the overall experience. In case some people need reminding…. humans still don’t have an app working on the computer for them!

The experience is as essential as the product

Here’s a really great example I came across this week (I am dying to go in geek review mode but it will have to wait).

So the G+ community oneQube beta testers was birthed. I was so impressed with what Robert Moore did when I joined. He announced “Starting today, I am going to post a “oneQube Search of the Day” challenge to get you diving into your followers with different search queries. Today’s challenge is to see how many of your followers refer bacon!”  See what he did there? Instead of setting up a place to only discuss bugs, share tips and gather feature requests he went the extra mile to keep us motivated to master oneQube. I’d probably set aside a chunk of time in the week to play with it instead of effectively studying oneQube. And here I am writing about it because it left such an impression.

That’s gold.

Be your customer’s friend. We’re all in this together FTW.

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Anne Reuss
Addicted to adrenaline, adventures and social media, Anne Reuss needs her fuel and gets it from coffee, fitness and the occassional slurpee. Being Deaf has only taught her to love challenge and listen abnormally well. She is a beer-loving homebrewer and community manager for 360Connext, a customer experience consulting firm, and a freelance marketing consultant.
Anne Reuss

@AnneReuss

Customer experience marketer. Mad for fitness, accessibility, #UX, #TechSexy, adventures & oreos. Deaf beer hunter & brewer, blogger addicted to adrenaline
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Anne Reuss
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